Years ago, for a splash of pizazz, I added a black chalkboard paint border close to the ceiling in our Kentucky kitchen. On this border encircling our hub of family activity, my husband suggested that we write each family member’s name, birthdate, and favorite Bible verse. That night at the dinner table we asked our three daughters to each consider their verse of choice. Without hesitation our youngest (a pig-tailed preschooler at the time) piped right up and exclaimed, “That’s easy! I want Zechariah 9:16, “Like jewels in a crown they will sparkle in His land!” Wow! Her enthusiasm and beaming smile matched her favorite verse!
Don’t you love to see God’s girls shining? Well, the “land” of Louisville was certainly sparkling brightly recently as girls from across our city gathered with their dads for a royal “ball” at Louisville Slugger Field! As the Heart of Womanhood ministry hosted the first-ever city-wide Diamond Dance, our ballroom was filled with Dads and Daughters getting their “Shine On!” Thanks to the prayers, promotion, and volunteers from 15 area churches, the sell-out crowd enjoyed special Valentine-themed décor, door greeters, formal coat check, professional photography area, chocolate fountain desserts plus an all-star line-up of both free-style and instructed dancing! Yes, the evening was glorious! God’s presence was present. The Father’s love was shared. From intentional “conversation heart chats” to dancing as couples down the middle of a “soul train,” this dazzling night sparked greater love for dads and daughters.
It was a night of shighlights! Shighlights is an “original” phrase my youngest invented as a small child. When asked what color of hair she had, Tress would respond. “I have brown hair with blonde shighlights! Well, I think shighlights is the perfect word to describe the “shining highlights” of the Diamond Dance. Since folks say that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” here are some photo and comment shighlights of this bright night:
- “Walking through the decorations and volunteers at the beginning was a ceremonial entrance of sorts. Felt so special right from the start.” ~Sheets
- “Something done extremely well was the number of volunteers as well as how welcome they made us feel. From the moment we walked to the door to the time we left, we truly felt not just welcome, but important. Everyone was smiling and happy to see us. That is huge.” ~Morrison
- “This dance rates in my top 10 of coolest things I have done in my life. (And I have traveled all over the world). It is a night I will not forget and neither will my daughter. She never stopped smiling all evening and she had a super time.” ~Rex
- “It was an amazing night focused on just dads and daughters in a Christian environment that was certainly glorifying to God. At a typical Daddy-Daughter dance at their schools, they are always easily distracted by all their friends but this made it truly about what this type of event is supposed to be about. Thank you so much to all that made this possible.” ~Elmore
- “Spending the time with my daughter. I bought flowers, washed my car, bought a new suit, took her to dinner, opened doors, and at the last two songs she clung to me like I was the only man alive. Every moment was worth it for those two songs.” ~Jay
- “I cried when we danced to “Good, Good Father.”~ Brunton
- “It made me wish I had done something of this nature every year prior. It was a game changer. If you did this two times a year…we would go.” ~ McCoon
- “Both my daughter and I enjoyed the dancing lessons. I am guessing that a lot of dads are like me in that they like taking their daughters out, but dancing isn’t a strong suit. This addressed that in a friendly way that did not call anyone out. It placed us all at the same starting point and made it a fun way to learn. We had a blast doing that and when it was all over, we both agreed that we could have done that all night long.” ~Morris
- “Priceless. Our daughters said it was the best father-daughter dance they have been to- and they go to one every year!” ~ White
- “When we took pictures at the house before leaving for the dance we both just stood next to each other with pleasant smiles. But by the end of the night we got some more pics with our arms around each other, heads touching and big smiles. And we’re starting to do “Date Night with Daddy” on a regular basis again. Thanks! See y’all again next year!” ~WRF
SHINING beyond the Diamond Dance
One daughter who attended the Diamond Dance asked as they were leaving, “Daddy, does it HAVE to be over?” The answer? Not necessarily. Now, two weeks later, the wrist corsages may be drying on bulletin boards, fancy dresses have been traded for school clothes, shiny shoes for tennis shoes, dinner with dad and chocolate fountains for brown bag lunches and hamburger helper. And yet our prayer for this evening was that each daughter would experience the Heavenly Father’s view of her God-given glory. Our Power Team prayed that each daughter who attended would embrace living “with an unveiled face brightly reflecting (shining) the glory of the Lord, being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit!” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The dance may be over, but God desires our shining to continue. The Heart of Womanhood ministry team desires that our next generation of daughters will keep shining beyond any Diamond Dance experience. Our hope is that they will keep shining even when the fancy becomes plain. Even when the twinkly lights are turned to dark. Even when their youthfulness becomes old age. Nights like the Diamond Dance are intended to remind and reframe the hearts of this next generation of girls so they will daily reflect His light…like a diamond! “Letting their lights shine so the world may see their good works and glorify their Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Philippians 2:13-16 polishes this same gem of truth.
“For it is God who works in you…to fulfill his good purpose…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you HOLD firmly to THE WORD of life.”
Like the words to the childhood song, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky,” God wants to fill the darkness of this world with His diamond daughters!
As the 500 dads and daughters left the Diamond Dance, each family was given a Home Team Gift Bag filled with treats that further encourage their dad-daughter relationship: a book with Eight Great Dates for Dads and Daughters, a picture frame for their professional photographs, and Cracker Jacks wrapped with a Louisville Bats Dad Daughter Date Night coming this spring.
Although the focus of our dance placed the spotlight on the dad-daughter relationship, the heartbeat of our ministry is drawing the hearts of moms and daughters closer to Jesus and each other. The final phrase of the Philippians passage above reveals the setting of each shining diamond. The verse illuminates the fact that “you will shine like stars…as you HOLD firmly to THE WORD of life!”
SHINING comes from GOD’S WORD~
The heart of the Heart of Womanhood ministry is to draw Moms and Daughters closer to Jesus and each other through the intergenerational study of THE WORD! We believe that our next generation will “shine like stars” as today’s mom and daughters step up to the plate to hold firmly to The Father’s WORD! Our Bible Studies are designed to fuel these important female family relationships with interactive and creative “read through” resources for one-on-one or small “heart group” study.
Our follow-up from the Diamond Dance is focused on spotlighting this heart for discipleship. Heart of Womanhood would love to send a small team of moms/daughters who have been using the H.O.W. resources for many years to come and lead a fun informational meeting for the moms/daughters (ages 8-18) within your sphere of influence. (They will bring samples of materials and projects too!) We want moms to catch the vision of how easy it is to lead Bible Studies in their homes alongside those in their schools, on their teams, neighborhood etc… then connect these relationships into your church family as well.
Our heartfelt desire is to equip and encourage moms to disciple their own girls while supporting the ministries of their home church. These Bible studies will not be adding to church programming or church budgets (since they are held in homes whenever the group mutually decides to meet and all resources are ordered online by each mom). All we request from you is a date and place at your church/school/troop for a Heart of Womanhood Preview Party! (Many churches/groups like to promote this as Mother’s Day approaches. So, if you are in the Kentuckiana area, please email us to see if we can provide this blessing for your church or group this spring!)
SHINING comes from HOLDING firmly
A final facet of shining brightly that gleams brightly from Philippians 2 is seen as Paul exclaims, “You will shine…as you HOLD firmly to the word of life!” The key to shining comes from HOLDING! An important concept for ballroom dancing is the term: HOLD. In ballroom dancing, whether it is closed-hold, shadow-hold, double-hold, or extended-hold positions, staying in “HOLD” allows the couple to remain firmly united so that they move as ONE across the dance floor! Jesus has invited YOU to be His dance partner in this life. If you and your daughters (like me and my daughters) have two left feet when it comes to dancing, have no fear. Brilliant dancing is all about Who is in the lead. As we stay in “HOLD” with Christ, He will beautifully lead us as wives and workers, as moms and daughters, to shine like diamonds! Yes. The Diamond Dance is over for this year. But as we remain in HOLD with Jesus as our divine lead, every day can be a Diamond Dance!
From the above pics, I think this event completed its mission of connecting fathers and daughters in a memorable way! Thank you for attending and praying for this event! This doesn’t happen without partner churches and businesses as good as these—to name a few: